What is Tribulus Terrestris Extract?
So what exactly is Tribulus Terrestris Extract?
Maybe you have heard about it at the gym or in bodybuilding magazines or forums. Or maybe you know a bit about it and are looking for more information. You have come to the right place.
Tribulus Terrestris Extract is actually a plant that can be found all over the world. It is an annual plant that grows in dryer climates where other plants struggle to survive.
The plant grows fruit that is covered with tiny spokes or stems. You may have even seen them on a hiking trip or while mountain biking. For example, it blooms in Southern California from April – October.
Here are some other common names for the plant:
- Devil’s eyelashes
- Devil’s thorn
- Cat’s head
- Puncture vine
A bit of trivia: tribulus is called puncture vine because the sharp spikes are able to penetrate bicycle tires and flatten them. Tribulus can also grab onto and stick to your socks or pants and is also known to get caught in animal fur which can cause damage and pain.
The fruit, leaves and the tribulus root are all used for medicinal purposes.
Here is a list of just a few of the ailments that Tibulus Terrestris Extract has been used for:
- Sore throat
- High blood pressure
- Skin disorders
- Kidney stones and other kidney problems
- Male sexual problems (ED)
- Increase sexual desire
- Chest pain
- Digestive problems
- Liver disease
- Chronic fatigue
The active ingredients seem to come from the leaves and are called steroidal saponins. Research that has been done in Russia and Bulgaria indicate that tribulus terrestris extract will increase levels of testosterone as well as DHEA.
Many athletes have been known to take tribulus terrestris extract in order to enhance athletic performance. Taking tribulus as a bodybuilding supplement became popular in the 1970’s by Jeffrey Peterman (bodybuilding champion)
Athletes take it to increase natural testosterone levels, which help build muscle mass, energy, and improve bodybuilding success. It is viewed as a natural alternative to taking steroids (without the negative side effects and cost).
There does not seem to be serious side effects of taking tribulus terrestris extract (always check with your doctor before taking any supplements). Some people may complain of a stomach ache after taking the supplement, but this seems to be cured if taken with food.
It is suggested that women who are pregnant or are breast feeding should not take this supplement as it could be unsafe. If you have prostate cancer, it is recommended that you not use this supplement. Tribulus may also effect blood sugar levels so if you are having surgery it is suggested that you stop using the supplement for a couple of weeks before your surgery. If you have diabetes, you will also want to be careful taking tribulus since it may affect our blood sugar levels.
One final note is that you should not eat the fruit covered in spines/ spikes. Stick to the extract that you can get from a supplement store or online.